Steven Knight's new mystery film Serenity, starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, has attracted some pretty brutal reviews - but the critics at least seem somewhat enthralled by its weirdness. The film sees fishing boat captain Baker Dill (McConaughey) approached by his desperate ex-wife, Karen (Hathaway), who offers him $10 million to carry out a murder plot against her new husband, Frank (Jason Clarke).
While it's true that reviews for Serenity haven't exactly been favorable, with the film garnering a 22% rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of the time of writing, it may still be worth watching for fans of "so bad it's good" movies, with one critic describing it as "gloriously bad." Without giving anything away, Serenity also has what one reviewer confidently described as "the most ludicrous twist of the year," even though it's only January. Let's dive into some of the most brutal (yet also strangely complimentary) reviews of Serenity.
The new year is not even a month old, but a hunk of junk called Serenity already qualifies as the worst film of 2019. Both moronically written and directed with shocking, amateurish ineptitude by Stephen Knight, it’s a pointless bomb... a sub-mental waste of time and Diane Lane. The early months of every year are always devoted to the trash Hollywood couldn’t dump in the plethora of Oscar contenders the year before. One expects junk in January. It’s a rule. But it is rare to pull any junk movie from the gutter as spectacularly stupid as Serenity.
Serenity is unburdened by logic or a single good reason for existing. The actors look trapped, pained to utter the next line of dialogue... What an infuriating mess the makers of Serenity have unloaded on an unsuspecting public. It’s still only January, but Serenity has already earned a place among the year’s worst movies. Karen can keep her millions. I’d feed this misfire to the sharks free of charge.
People who can enjoy laughing at something made in dead earnest, who can appreciate, in a perverse way, a phenomenal, jaw-dropping mess, may find an experience close to pleasure in this strange, misbegotten, three-headed freak of a movie.
Serenity [is] a stupefyingly awful film that actors with fewer opportunities would have likely passed on, laughing... This is the type of twist that turns a mere mediocrity into a hoo-boy January stinker that clears out multiplexes faster than rotten meat in a refrigerator.
Serenity is an absolute mess. Ludicrously plotted, and baffling in terms of editing and pacing. This whole endeavor feels like a movie that had way too many hands involved in cutting, editing, and splicing together the final product. There is no continuity, veering from sexually charged thriller found at the video store in the 1990s, to the kind of B-movie dreck talented actors turn to when the A-list scripts dry up... The year? Nah. Serenity ranks as one of the worst films of the decade.
Having finally seen Serenity, let me just say: REOPEN ALCATRAZ AND GIVE STEVEN KNIGHT A LIFETIME SENTENCE. Nothing could’ve prepared me for Serenity—its ridiculous dialogue, fish-obsessed characters, and all-time bonkers plot twist... Get a Brink’s truck filled with Razzies to Steven Knight’s driveway posthaste; we’ve got a runaway winner on our hands. This is 2019’s Book of Henry; The Snowman for the tropics; The Sims by way of McConaughey’s Lincoln commercials and bare ass.
It's not looking good for Serenity, but in the movie's defense it sounds like even the critics who hated it won't be forgetting it any time soon. In fact, it seems as though many of them may be haunted by it for years. And while the vast majority of the reviews were negative, there were some reviewers who were charmed enough by its utter weirdness to come away with a more positive impression. Here are some of the less brutal reviews for Serenity.
The off-kilter, colorful, cartoonish fantasy of “Serenity” is just so odd and appealing that you want to spend time with the characters, aboard this ship, among the people of Plymouth in this crazy, upside-down world.
Serenity is a midnight movie waiting to be embraced by those who want to gather some friends, kick back in an empty theater and lovingly question just what everyone was thinking when they put this together... There’s absolutely nothing like Serenity out there. It’s so insane, weird, dumb, and funny that you’ll be enthralled.
While I can’t whole-heartedly recommend going to see this film... I can’t imagine that there’s a single other movie coming out this year that will match it for how utterly unbelievable it is. That alone makes Serenity worthy of distinction, despite how impossible it is to figure out exactly what audience the film was meant for. A movie that swings wildly for the fences and misses is infinitely more memorable than one that never tries.
If you've seen Serenity, let us know if the comments if you loved it, hated it, or were so blown away by it that you think it transcends the concepts of goodness and badness.